Kevin Zeitler said there will be no "hard feelings" when the Browns host the Bengals this weekend at FirstEnergy Stadium.
After five seasons in Cincinnati, the right guard will face his former team for the first time since departing the Queen City in free agency this past spring.
"It's a business. They have a lot of talented players on that team that they need to take care of in the upcoming years. It is what it is," said Zeitler, who signed with Cleveland in March. "I'm happy to be here and be part of the Browns, and I'm looking forward to Sunday."
Zeitler, widely considered one of the NFL's best guards, has been a welcomed addition to a promising offensive line that includes 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, left guard Joel Bitonio (who received a contract extension in March), new center JC Tretter (who left Green Bay as a free agent) and second-year right tackle Shon Coleman.
"He's doing well. Glad he's here," said head coach Hue Jackson, who spent four seasons with Zeitler and the Bengals (2012-15).
"Kevin was here for a long time and did some great things, and he obviously earned that contract that he got over in Cleveland," Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said. "It's tough. Sometimes you lose guys like that that have been around for a long time."
In Cincinnati, Zeitler started 71 of 72 games and helped the Bengals become one of the league's most-dynamic offenses. But a bond with Jackson, who was Cincinnati's offensive coordinator for from 2014-15, led him to join forces with his former coach and a young Cleveland team hoping to fortify its interior offensive line.
"It might sound ridiculous, but because Hue is here, I believe," Zeitler said in March. "I really like Hue and the direction he has the program going. I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to be a part of the rebuilding and what they have going on."
Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer described Zeitler as the "hardest worker on the team."
"He's strong. He lives in the weight room. He understands what it takes to be great," Kizer said. "That is why we were able to bring him over and make him one of the highest paid at his position because he knows what to do. His discipline is what is required for us all to be great."
And as the Browns offense continues to build chemistry, Zeitler will continue to play an important role.
"He has done a good job of shoring up some things on the right side of our line," Jackson said. "He has played well. We just have to keep working and doing the things that we are doing, but Kevin has done a good job."